Saturday, December 12, 2009

Supreme Court Upholds Emergency Aid Exception To 4th Amendment

The Supreme Court upheld the warrantless search of a residence based on the emergency exception to the Fourth Amendment.  Brownston Michigan police were called to a residence to investigate a man acting out.  When the officer arrived he found a truck parked with it's fender damaged and a man inside the residence screaming loudly.  The man inside the house refused to allow the police into the residence without a search warrant.  The officer observed drops of blood on the hood of the truck and some clothes inside the truck.  The officer once again asked to be let into the residence and when the man inside the home did not let him in, the officer broke through the door and entered the residence.  When the officer entered, the man inside the house pointed a gun at the officer.  He was charged with assault and UUW.  The man inside the house won the case on a motion to suppress and the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the granting of the motion.  The Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments but never issued a decision.

This week, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Michigan courts and concluded that the officers correctly applied the emergency exception to the Fourth Amendment.  In it's decision, the United States Supreme Court defined the emergency exception as allowing "law enforcement officers to enter a home without a warrant to render emergency assistance to an injured occupant or to protect an occupant from imminent injury."  While the man inside the house was not injured, someone else may have been.  Therefore the police acted reasonably.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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